Nuclear Issues

23 Items

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

India’s Nuclear Security

    Author:
  • Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
| Jan. 04, 2016

Situated in a difficult neighborhood, New Delhi has laid strong emphasis on both nuclear safety and security for a couple of decades now. Almost three decades of state-sponsored terrorism and insurgencies of varying scale and proportion within India have meant that security of nuclear materials and installations has been a great worry to India’s security and atomic energy establishments. India’s concerns even predate the Western focus on WMD terrorism, which gained prominence only after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.  Unfortunately, India’s excessive caution and secrecy in the nuclear arena has led the world to assume that India does not pay much attention to this issue or that it has inadequate security, which is far from the truth.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

The Dannemora Prison Break: Lessons for Nuclear Facilities

| Sep. 09, 2015

In prisons as in nuclear facilities, employees are tasked with guarding something highly dangerous in high-stress environments. Both face high costs in the event of failure, and both are especially vulnerable to complacency and insider threats. Given these parallels, two inmates’ dramatic break-out from a New York prison in early June offers nuclear security practitioners valuable insights into how to avert an equally dramatic (and potentially much more consequential) breech.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Two Recent Incidents of Insecurity

| July 21, 2015

Are nuclear sites secure?  There are some who might assume the answer is yes and that we should not worry about the possibility of nuclear bomb material being stolen. Yet, recent history has repeatedly demonstrated that high security facilities thought to be secure were actually vulnerable. Two such incidents last month illustrated this idea.

new start treaty closing negotiations

US Department of State

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Lessons Learned from Past WMD Negotiations

| June 26, 2015

Graham Allison, Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on lessons from prior weapons of mass destruction negotiations for the current talks with Iran over its nuclear program. Drawing on arms control agreements during the Cold War and the post-Cold War era, he argued that negotiated agreements on nuclear weapons are a crucial part of American national security although they are complementary to, and not an alternative to, other military, diplomatic, covert, and economic means of geopolitical competition, that no arms agreement is perfect from the perspective of both sides as they are by nature negotiated settlements, claims that the United States can't or should make agreements with "evil" regimes or those that cannot be trusted are false, the United States can make agreements with regimes that it is trying to contain or subvert in other ways, and which are in turn engaging in other actions that are threatening American citizens and soldiers, arms control agreements overall have reduced the number of nuclear weapons and helped reduce the likelihood of war, and that there is no "good" or "bad" agreement on its own, but only when assessed against alternative options.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Lessons Learned from Past Negotiations to Prevent Nuclear Proliferation

| June 26, 2015

William Tobey, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on lessons from prior arms control and disarmament agreements for the current negotiations with Iran. Using examples from Iraq, North and Libya, he identified five key patterns for arms control negotiators to be cognizant of, including the fact that decisions to disarm are usually incomplete and taken incrementally, deceptive actions by the proliferator can appear as progress, strong verification and intelligence measures can deter cheating while lax verification can encourage it, verification is built on checking declarations for inconsistencies, and inspections are only as effective as political support.  From these lessons, he identified three key lessons, including a complete declaration of nuclear activities is crucial, unwillingness to provide this declaration is evidence of Iran's willingness to comply with a full agreement, and successful agreements require vigilance over time, and cannot be considered solved after an agreement is signed.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Decoding the Iran Nuclear Deal

Apr. 15, 2015

On April 2, 2015, the EU (on behalf of the P5+1 countries) and Iran announced agreement on “key parameters” for a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. The EU-Iran Joint Statement is buttressed by unilateral fact sheets issued by the U.S. and Iran, which provide further details of the framework accord.  Not surprisingly, differences have emerged between the U.S. and Iranian versions of the deal. These differences reflect both political spin and remaining issues that have not been resolved.  In the next phase of this process, the negotiators will seek to finalize a comprehensive agreement by June 30, 2015.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

The Iran Project Statement on the Announcement of a Framework for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement with Iran

Apr. 07, 2015

Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government and Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Nicholas Burns, Professor of Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School, Michele Flournoy, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center and CEO of the Center for New American Security, James Cartwright, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center, Joseph Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, and Gary Samore, Executive Director for Research at the Belfer Center are all signatories of the Iran Project statement on the recently released framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1 regarding its nuclear program. The statement recognizes both the successes of the negotiations thus far, while also noting specific areas that require further progress.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Why Security Fails

    Author:
  • Roger G. Johnston
| Feb. 11, 2015

In thinking about how nuclear security and safeguards can fail, it is useful to keep in mind why security usually fails in general.  Most security managers and organizations have a good understanding of the assets they are trying to protect, the resources available to them to protect those assets, and the consequences should security fail (though this is sometimes greatly underestimated).  They often have a reasonably accurate understanding of the threats they face—who might attack, why, how, when, and with what goals and resources.  What is often lacking is a good understanding of the vulnerabilities—the weaknesses in the security that can be exploited by the threats—and how those vulnerabilities can be mitigated or eliminated.